Chamonix snowboarder Emily Watts critically injured

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Emily Watts
Image caption,
Emily Watts was taken to hospital after the accident on Sunday

A British woman, critically ill after a snowboarding accident in the French Alps, is unlikely to survive, her family have said.

Emily Watts, 26, from Lavenham, Suffolk, was taken to hospital on Saturday after the crash near Chamonix.

Ms Watts' aunt Shona Pollock said the family were "consumed with grief" as it was clear she was unlikely to recover.

The Foreign Office said it was assisting Ms Watts' family, who have travelled to be with her in hospital.

Her parents, Nicky and Dominic, and brother Rory, 27, have flown to France to be by her bedside.

Ms Watts remains on a life-support machine.

Known as Mimi, she fell headfirst into a snowdrift and was stuck for about 45 minutes following the fall, in the Grand Montets skiing area.

'Starved of oxygen'

By the time emergency crews arrived, she had suffered a cardiac arrest, prompting fears of brain damage.

Ms Pollock said: "She's on a life support machine but it won't be for long. I have a religious friend who said there is still hope but I don't believe there is.

"Her brain was starved of oxygen for about 45 minutes.

"It's so sad. Mimi is a fabulous, outgoing character, plucky, and someone who loved the mountains.

"She is adored by her brother. She's just a thoroughly positive, optimistic, lovely girl.

"It was just an unusual, unlucky, tragic accident and no-one really knows what happened."

French police were unable to notify the family for a day as Miss Watts was not wearing any identification, Ms Pollock said.

The design student was reportedly taken to hospital in nearby Annecy, before being transferred to a specialist unit. It is believed no-one else was involved in the accident.

The experienced snowboarder had been in France for a few weeks and was working at the resort, her aunt said.

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